Thursday, December 04, 2008

An Obama flip-flop?

Looks like Obama was for windfall taxes on oil companies before being against it.

From Reuters (Jun 2008): Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Monday he would impose a windfall profits tax on U.S. oil companies as he sought political gain from Americans' pain over high gasoline prices. I'll make oil companies like Exxon pay a tax on their windfall profits, and we'll use the money to help families pay for their skyrocketing energy costs and other bills," the Illinois senator said.
From the Wall Street Journal (Dec 2008): Now with the election safely over, a transition spokesman explained this week that the drop in oil prices to $50 a barrel has made the windfall tax a dead letter. Left unexplained was why the oil companies suddenly decided to stop profiteering, or manipulating commodity prices, or whatever it was they were supposedly doing. But be thankful for small mercies. It is reassuring that Mr. Obama's calls to arbitrarily soak an unpopular business were merely rooted in political expediency, not some economic philosophy.
Of course, Exxon Mobil for its part is projected to make about $46 billion in profits for 2008. Yes, $46 billion.
Exxon Mobil Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rex W. Tillerson will receive a 10% base salary increase of $187,000 to $2.06 million in 2009 plus 225,000 shares of restricted stock, according to a filing with regulators. The salary boost just about matches the profit increase of 11% that Wall Street analysts expect for the oil giant's 2008 profit, now pegged at just over $46 billion, according to a survey by FactSet Research.

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